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Founder Derrick Hayes And Big Dave's Cheesesteaks Secure Multi-Year Agreement For Brick-And-Mortar Location At Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Another win for Derrick Hayes. The Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks founder and CEO has secured a four-year agreement that will scale the business at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. Starting in 2022, he had two portable vendor cart slots placed around the stadium and soon expanded to three. Now, sports fans will be able to visit a brick-and-mortar location in Section 107 of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and enjoy staple items such as signature cheesesteaks, seasoned fries, chicken tenders, and its newest offering, the Fried Chicken Cheesesteak. The new location will replace the carts. “We are thrilled to secure this four-year deal with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, further expanding the reach of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks,” Hayes said in a news release. “This partnership aligns perfectly with our mission to bring our exceptional food to even more fans and event-goers. We look forward to being a proud sponsor and delivering an unparalleled dining experience at one of the world’s premier sports and...

Samantha Dorisca

May 24, 2024

OpenseedVC Raises $10M To Support Operators Launching Technology Companies In Africa And Europe

OpenseedVC, run by Europe’s first Black solo general partner, has raised $10 million in its first close. Per its LinkedIn, the London, England-based firm exists to invest dollars in operators, those previously involved in daily operations of a startup, who are launching new technology companies across Africa and Europe. “We exist to back the most talented and experienced operators from day zero,” OpenseedVC Founder Maria Rotilu wrote on LinkedIn. “ As an angel-style fund, we are designed for one founder profile. Operators just as they take the leap to start their tech companies. We are driven by *pure merit* (hence the name OpenseedVC), and our goal is to back the most experienced operators and builders as first investors, especially at a time where the need to build truly groundbreaking and impactful solutions is critical.” She continued, “It is a tough fundraising climate, for funds and startups alike. However, we believe this is the best time to invest in the most visionary and...

Samantha Dorisca

May 22, 2024

50 Cent Is Considering Taking Beam Suntory Legal Woes To Congress After Alleging The Company Cost Him $6M

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is prepared to take his woes with Suntory Global Spirits to Congress if both parties are not able to come to a mutual agreement soon. According to HipHop DX, the rapper-turned-businessman used his Instagram account to address the company’s decision to change its name from Beam Suntory to Suntory Global Spirits without taking accountability for its alleged wrongdoing toward him and Sire Spirits. “Changing the company name from Beam Suntory to @SuntoryGlobalSpirits without correcting what was done to my brands @bransoncognac and @lecheminduroi doesn’t fix the problem and lacks honor,” 50 Cent said. “ I attempted to resolve the matter, not once, but twice. Now the legal process will play out publicly for everyone to see what really happened and how @SuntoryGlobalSpirits would rather spend millions to protect and conceal criminal conduct instead of doing the right thing.”   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) As previously reported...

Shanique Yates

May 22, 2024

Big Dave's Cheesesteaks, Founded By Derrick Hayes, Expands To Its First Out-Of-State Location Poised To Create 30 New Jobs

Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, founded by Derrick Hayes, is crossing state lines. The restaurant, which was born from Hayes’ interest in cooking while in the kitchen with his grandfather, notes Forbes, has scaled from a 700-square-foot gas station in Dunwoody, GA, to multiple locations across Atlanta, GA, including the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In 2023, Hayes’ had cemented a deal that pivoted the business to a franchise model allowing the restaurant to further capitalize off its success. By doing so, 10 restaurants are already set to form across central Florida as former PepsiCo executive Derek Lewis signed a franchise agreement with Hayes in January 2024, as AFROTECH™ previously reported. Now, Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks is poised for even further growth in light of its newest establishment opening at 8552 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28213, its first out-of-state location, according to a press release provided to AFROTECH™. “From a humble gas station start to expanding across state...

Samantha Dorisca

May 14, 2024

Kubik Reportedly Becomes First Ethiopian Company To Earn A Multi-Million-Dollar Investment In Climate And Sustainability Solutions

Ethiopian sustainable tech startup Kubik has scored a first for the country. According to a press release sent to AFROTECH™, it has raised $5.2 million in a seed round. Investors include East African venture capital firm African Renaissance Partners, Endgame Capital, and King Philanthropies. It will now further its work in using plastic waste to make affordable buildings and removing waste from the environment. “Kubik’s vision to build safe and affordable living for all speaks directly to King Philanthropies’ mission to catalyze solutions at the intersection of climate and livelihoods,” Kartick Kumar, managing director at King Philanthropies, said in a press release. “Kubik is at the forefront of innovation in Ethiopia and across the African market, and we’re proud to support the tremendous impact they’re making combatting plastic waste and providing safe, durable, and affordable housing.” The funding round makes Kubik the first Ethiopian country to earn a multi-million-dollar...

Samantha Dorisca

May 2, 2024

How Felix Brandon Lloyd's Beanstack Went From Receiving A $250K Investment From Mark Cuban To Generating $5M In Annual Revenue

Reading is one of the fundamental skills required for youth to excel academically. However, there has been a rising number of children who struggle with literacy skills. According to The Nation’s Report Card, only 33% of fourth-grade students could read at or above the basic reading level as of 2022. To be a part of keeping students motivated to read, Beanstack, formerly known as Zoobean, stepped in. Founded by husband-and-wife team Felix Brandon Lloyd and Jordan Lloyd Bookey, the edtech startup was created to not only support children’s reading growth but also grow their overall love for reading. The drive to launch the company stems from the founders’ background in education. In addition to Bookey serving as Google’s head of K-12 education outreach, Lloyd had worked in the public school system. He started out as dean of students at the SEED Public Charter School, where he was named Washington, D.C.’s “Teacher of the Year.” Then, in 2007, Lloyd was selected for Echoing Green’s...

Ngozi Nwanji

May 2, 2024

Robert F. Smith's Vista Equity Partners Raises $20B In Its Largest Fund To Date

Robert F. Smith’s Vista Equity Partners has marked off a new milestone. Axios reports that the private equity firm has raised over $20 billion for its new fund — making the fund its largest to date. As a platform that invests in technology companies, Vista Equity Partners is set to focus on artificial intelligence (AI). According to the outlet, Smith wrote to investors ahead of Vista Equity Partners’ annual general meeting in April about what they can expect soon. “You will also hear more about how we have adopted generative artificial intelligence not just as a tool but as a pivotal component of our value creation and underwriting processes,” Smith wrote, per the outlet. He added, “This has enabled us to identify and capitalize on opportunities, including dramatically expanding TAM [total available market], product innovation, GTM [go-to-market] strategies, with greater precision and speed, ensuring that we stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving market landscape.” Before its...

Ngozi Nwanji

Apr 23, 2024

Birdman Says He Still Maintains Full Ownership Of His Masters — 'I Never Allowed None Of The Labels To Own Anything'

Cash Money Records Founder Birdman experienced several losses by the age of 16, and he was determined to steer clear of any losses in the music business. Birdman, born Bryan Christopher Williams, started the label in 1991 alongside his brother Ronald “Slim” Williams, according to BET. They were able to gain traction and had the support of independent distributors such as Gonzales Music and SouthWest Distribution, XXL Magazine reports. Building popularity in the South, the label caught the attention of Universal Records and signed a deal with the company on May 10, 1997, per a Max Volume Media interview Birdman gave. He later discussed the deal during an interview on the “Wilde Ride!” podcast, revealing that he was looking to retain ownership of his music due to his upbringing. “I felt like I lost everything already. I lost my family,” he explained on the podcast. “Nothing can repay me for what I already lost. I lost my mama, my daddy, my brother, my sister… I lived a hell of a life...

Samantha Dorisca

Apr 19, 2024

Blavity Inc. Forms The AFROTECH™ Advisory Board To Be A Driving Force For Innovation And Inclusivity In Tech

Blavity Inc. has assembled a coalition of leaders to drive equity in technology. In a news release, the technology and news media company has shared it has formed the AFROTECH™ Advisory Board. The board will dedicate its focus to workplace equity and ensuring underrepresented employees, founders, and startups can obtain access to capital and economic mobility.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by AFROTECH ( “Mobilizing this consortium is a crucial move towards amplifying our impact and reach in creating a more equitable tech industry,” Morgan DeBaun, founder and CEO of Blavity Inc., said in a press statement. “Our concerted effort will focus on practical initiatives that not only enhance workplace equity but also promote significant access to capital and opportunities for our community’s members.” The AFROTECH™ Advisory Board includes representatives of Amazon, American Express, Black Economic Alliance, Chewy, GAP, Google, Infoblox, Jordan Brand, Lam Research,...

Samantha Dorisca

Apr 18, 2024

Rapper Xzibit Opens A Marijuana Dispensary After Creating A Podcast To Remove The Stigma In The Cannabis Industry

He made his mark in rap, now Xzibit is looking to do the same in a new industry. The “Get Your Walk On” artist, born Alvin Nathaniel Joiner, will be scaling his interest in the cannabis industry. In 2023, he launched the “Lasagna Ganja” podcast in collaboration with co-host Tammy “The Cannabis Cutie” Pettigrew, CNN reports. The purpose of the podcast was to remove the stigma associated with cannabis use and to educate listeners. When speaking on the overarching goal of stewarding these conversations, he said in an interview on “Beyond the Red Carpet with Ny MaGee,” “I’ve seen the music industry go from millions to a billion-dollar industry. And I’ve also seen cannabis, you know, take on the same journey that maybe alcohol did after prohibition. And the misinformation that can lead us to continue to be left out of things is something that I want to combat. So when I say us, I mean people of color, people who have been incarcerated for cannabis, and now as it turns into this...

Samantha Dorisca

Apr 16, 2024

First Black-Owned Private Rocket Company Emerges To Create More Opportunities For Inclusion In Space Exploration

Founder Mateus Chipa wants the Black community to be more involved in space exploration. According to a Scripps News report of the 360 astronauts enlisted with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), just 18 had been Black astronauts as of Feb 5, 2024. For Chipa, he believed that to increase representation and empowerment it would be necessary for an influential Black entrepreneur to launch a company to break down barriers. According to his website, he waited eight years for Black leaders to step forward. In frustration after that time had passed, he decided to take matters into his own hands and established Theby Space Services (TSS) , a Black-owned private rocket company. “TSS came in a place of a lot of frustration, a lot of accountability and responsibility…For the last 10 years, I’ve been frustrated because I haven’t seen any Black nation or individual talking about going in a space,” Chipa said in a video shared on YouTube. “I’ve been asking myself why? Why...

Samantha Dorisca

Apr 16, 2024

This CEO Says He Sold His Company And Made The Employees Millionaires — 'We’re Minting Over 25 Millionaires'

When looking for a job, one of the critical things prospective employees consider is the benefits. Beyond healthcare, people hold stock options and spending accounts in high regard when choosing employment. Take, for example, the folks at Global Data Consortium.

Josh Rodgers

May 4, 2022

645 Ventures Announces New $160M Fund and 'Connected Network' to Support Founders' Growth

Today, 645 Ventures announced 645 Ventures Fund III, a $160 million fund “to invest in exceptional Seed and Series A companies.” The firm revealed they normally invest $1 million and $2.5 million per seed round and $5 million per Series A. The company also stated that it’s backed by leading institutional investors, “including university endowments, foundations, funds of funds, and pension funds.” “Fund III allows us to continue partnering with early-stage visionary founders who aspire to build iconic businesses that transform industries and reach large scale M&A and IPO events,” the announcement reads. In addition to the new fund, 645 Ventures is also launching “ Connected Network ,” a team of individual investors, including top technology leaders, business founders, and financiers who’ve scaled their early-stage startups to growth-stage businesses. “We have built and scaled a unique Connected Network of LPs and formed an ambitious internal team of engineers, operators, and...

Niki McGloster

Oct 28, 2020

Former Television Execs Launch Marketing Agency to Help Brands Connect With Black Audiences

Since the recent protests for racial justice, companies have scrambled to clean house, positioning themselves to be more diverse and inclusive. In addition, plenty of organizations have remixed their marketing to speak to a more multicultural audience. Still, some are missing the mark. According to NewsOne , former television executives Jessica D. Lane Alexander and Lori J. Hall founded Pop’N Creative “to help brands cultivate an authentic connection with multicultural audiences.” Launched in 2020, the agency focuses on digital and social content creation, experiential design, and masterful storytelling, the site reads. “We are absolutely, unapologetically passionate about multicultural marketing and helping brands get it right,” Hall told NewsOne. Both Hall and Alexander aim to help disrupt conflicting representation for Black girls in mainstream marketing, especially on the beauty of African-American attributes such as natural hair. “While I was super excited to see someone who...

Niki McGloster

Aug 10, 2020

These Two Black Female Founders Are Creating Safe Spaces For Black Creatives

The onus to create safe spaces for Black creatives has always been on other Black people. Before the public health crisis, these welcoming locales, where creatives could openly exist and express without the judgment of white gaze — whether virtual or IRL — were precious and rare. Founded by Naj Austin, Ethel’s Club is one of these sacred centers: a social club where members of the Black community have access to healing through “conversation, wellness and creativity.” Following the pandemic, Austin pivoted to an all-virtual membership, offering the same much-needed resources and space to her members. “We understand that lots of people are currently out of work, have no idea if that work will even come back and still need some semblance of peace and space,” she says. “Amid all of that, we started offering free group healing sessions once a month or twice a month to provide for people who, you know, need a space to then talk to someone, meet a therapist, whatever it may be, because the...

Niki McGloster

Jul 28, 2020